Showing posts with label Donna Leong. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donna Leong. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Green renews call for tourist climate fee in State of the State address, secret recordings offer new evidence in Honolulu officials' corruption case, noisy nurses on strike irk hospital patients, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

In State of the State Address, Hawaii Governor Renews Call To Charge Visitors A Climate Impact Fee. Green's latest proposal calls for a one-time payment of $25 when checking into a hotel or rental unit, but it could also involve an increase to the hotel tax. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.  Tribune-HeraldMaui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

The full text of Gov. Josh Green's State of the State address can be found here.

Mayors request funding for legislative session.
Mayor Mitch Roth, Mayor Richard Bissen, and Mayor Rick Blangiardi presented requests to legislators for the upcoming session. Mayor Derek Kawakami was unable to attend after being stuck in travel delays on the mainland. KHON2.

USDA to update Hawaiʻi SNAP benefits to reflect rising food costs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will update the way it distributes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits to low-income residents in Hawaiʻi. Hawaii Public Radio.


Mayor requests state-level support for city programs. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration Monday sought state-level support, including more funding, to expand the city’s Emergency Services Department, affordable housing projects and transit-oriented development around the island. Star-Advertiser.

Secret recordings offer new evidence in corruption case against 3 former city executives. In January 2017, Donna Leong was the city’s Corporation Counsel. Roy Amemiya was the Managing Director, and Max Sword was the chair of the Honolulu Police Commission. Hawaii News Now.

Miske Trial: ‘Master Manipulator’ Or ‘Self-Made Businessman’?. After a prolonged jury selection process, the trial of the accused Honolulu racketeering boss began with opening statements. Civil Beat. Associated Press.  Hawaii News Now.  KHON2. KITV4.

City Council poised to provide aid to businesses hurt by rail construction. Rail construction along Dillingham Blvd. continues to impact businesses and there are years of work to go. Honolulu City Council is trying to provide some relief to small business owners.  KHON2.

SHOPO, Honolulu police sergeant settle lawsuit. A civil lawsuit alleging police union board members conspired to remove a former member by falsely accusing him of double-dipping into travel funds and blackmailing him with the threat of criminal charges was settled recently, according to an email to members from the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers. Star-Advertiser.

Noisy nurses striking outside Kapiolani Medical Center raise complaints from patients. Kapi‘olani nurses strike endures during busy time for hospitals. Union nurses showed up in full force Monday for the second day of a weeklong strike at the Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News NowKITV4.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Loa Observatory still isolated, but new funds could make it fully operational.
  The atmospheric monitoring station was not directly damaged by the 13-day eruption of Mauna Loa that began Nov. 27, 2022, but the volcanic fissures that opened during the eruption spewed a river of lava across the Mauna Loa Observatory Access Road, the only access route to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Lawmakers Attempt To Rein In Short-Term Vacation Rentals. Supporters say new limits are needed to increase the island's affordable housing stock, while opponents fear negative economic consequences. Civil Beat. Big Island Now.

OHA files suit aiming to repeal Mauna Kea oversight authority. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs said Monday that it is asking a court to repeal the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Expansion in the works for overcrowded Hilo elementary school.
The principal of Ernest Bowen de Silva Elementary School said he’s hoping that planning and design of a new classroom building for the overcrowded Hilo campus can be completed within a year. Tribune-Herald.

Vietnam Memorial replica arrives in Hawaiʻi for 'once-in-a-lifetime' exhibition.  For the first time, "The Wall That Heals" is coming to Hawaiʻi. It’s a three-quarter scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Hawaii Public Radio. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News.


Insurance Companies Want Their Money Back For Lahaina Fire Claims. They’re Going After HECO For It. Insurers have paid more than $1 billion in claims related to the Lahaina wildfires and want reimbursement from the utility and landowner. Civil Beat.

Maui County To Open A Special Permitting Office To Help Lahaina Rebuild. Mayor Richard Bissen asked state lawmakers to pick up $75 million of the cost of the required matching funds for federal Public Assistance aid. Civil Beat.

Air monitoring and sampling to increase during Lahaina debris removal. The state Department of Health announced it is increasing air monitoring and sampling in Lahaina and Olowalu as Phase II debris removal commences.  Maui Now.

Maui-Lanai ferry runs aground near entrance to Maalaea Harbor. The Coast Guard said it is responding to the Maui-Lanai ferry, which ran aground Monday morning near the entrance to Maalaea Harbor. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.


Surfrider Kaua‘i releases January water quality test results.  Through its Blue Water Task Force, which tests many local beaches and waterways on a regular basis, the Surfrider Foundation revealed that most of Kaua‘i’s streams are polluted with human wastes from cesspools. Kauai Now.

Dept. of Water to begin monthly water service inspections through May. Department of Water personnel and its contractor will be accessing meter boxes islandwide as part of water service line inspections to identify pipe materials delivering water to residential homes and businesses in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule Revision drinking water rules.  Kauai Now.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Abercrombie appointed to UH Board of Regents, more state Senate shenanigans, federal judge skeptical of defense arguments in Honolulu conspiracy case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Former Gov. Abercrombie among interim UH regent appointees. The inclusion of outspoken former Gov. Neil Abercrombie among three people appointed to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents is seen by observers as bearing potential to cause at least some shift in the measured culture of the board, and in the university’s fractured relationship with some state senators. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Big Island Now.

How A Few Hawaii Senators Conspired To Get Rid Of An Agency Board Member Who Was In The Way. Vassilis Syrmos’ position as a director of the quasi-independent Hawaii Technology Development Corp. was supposed to be free from politics. But that didn’t stop a clique of lawmakers led by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz from mounting a secretive, 11th-hour campaign to get rid of Syrmos, a University of Hawaii vice president who has openly questioned a project in Dela Cruz’s district. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Is Clamping Down On Unlicensed Care Homes. State officials have grown increasingly concerned about the facilities, with 89 investigations already underway. Civil Beat.

Lawmaker calls for audit of Hawaii film office amid local hiring feud. A state senator is calling for an audit of the Hawaii State Film Office in a feud over whether the office is doing enough to promote the hiring of local workers in film and television productions. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Free summer meals for keiki offered at 86 public schools. Eighty-six public schools across the state will offer free meals during part of the summer to children ages 18 years and younger, regardless of their public school enrollment status, the state Department of Education has announced. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  KHON2.

Current cesspool conversion program still not enough to wipe out waste problem. The current pilot program only had $5 million available to homeowners. If the state were to expand it so that 3,000 cesspools could be upgraded each year, it would cost Hawaii $61 million every year for the next 27 years - or a total of more than $1.6 Billion for cesspool conversions. KITV4.

Teamsters to strike Hawaii Gas over contract impasse
. Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers, Local 996, which represents 217 members across the state, said in a letter that a strike would begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and continue until an agreement between both parties is reached. Star-Advertiser. KITV4.


Arguments To Dismiss Honolulu Conspiracy Case Met With Skepticism.  On Wednesday, lawyers for three former Honolulu officials tried to convince the judge the federal conspiracy charges against their clients should be dismissed.  Former Honolulu attorney Donna Leong, former Honolulu Police Commission chair Max Sword and former managing director Roy Amemiya are accused of setting up ex-police chief Louis Kealoha’s $250,000 severance agreement without Honolulu City Council approval and trying to keep the deal quiet.  Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu rail system is ‘ready to go’ June 30.  Rail trains are running, cracked “hammerhead” station supports are fixed and reinforced and passenger service is scheduled to begin June 30, including a four-hour window on that Friday when anyone can ride and experience the country’s first fully automated rail system for free. Star-Advertiser.

Navy wants to remove 3 pipelines at Red Hill fuel facility.  The Navy announced Wednesday it wants to dismantle the pipelines connecting the massive fuel tanks at its underground Red Hill facility to Pearl Harbor. Star-Advertiser.

Bed bugs at Honolulu’s airport trigger deep cleaning, gate closures.
Deep cleaning is underway at several Honolulu airport gates after bed bugs were reported. State Transportation Director Ed Sniffen said his agency got reports of the bugs in one of the E Gates in Terminal 2 on Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Public outcry over crime heard in Maili meeting.
A public meeting to address illegal game rooms and cockfighting on Oahu’s west side on Wednesday was marked by emotional public input, allegations of public corruption and pleas to end the proliferation of guns in the community. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

DLNR: 50 to 60 coral colonies damaged by cinder blocks used for canoe regatta. Sixty-pound cinder blocks placed in the ocean for a Hawaii Island canoe regatta last weekend caused damage to approximately 50 to 60 coral colonies in Kailua Bay, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.  KHON2.

Setbacks for ramp, seawall: Funding pulled for Laupahoehoe project. Shifting funding priorities and the harrows of nature have pushed repairs for the Laupahoehoe Boat Ramp and seawall further into the future. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Roth’s town hall series begins in West Hawai’i; issues include vacation rentals, homelessness, feral cats, pickleball. On Tuesday evening in South Kona, Hawai’i County Mayor Mitch Roth heard an earful during his first town hall in a new series of community meetings across the island aimed at providing updates and fostering engagement with residents. Big Island Now.


Maui County Council to inventory unused funds from construction projects. Budget committee members are looking at an inventory of projects with lapse dates of 2018 or older. That amounts to about $28 million in past funding. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Lauded Summer Food Program Has Restarted But Rural Kids Could Miss Out Due To USDA Rules. Demographic shifts mean that all of Maui County is excluded from a federal program meant to benefit kids in rural communities. Civil Beat.

Another potential roadblock for decade-long effort to safely open a new Kihei high school. Kulanihakoi High School in Kihei hopes to welcome its first students this fall – if it can get through all the red tape. Hawaii News Now.

Resident input sought on county parks and recreation facilities.
Starting Thursday, Maui County households will be randomly offered an invitation to complete a survey, which will help guide the Department of Parks and Recreation in managing and developing parks, facilities and recreation programs, the county said.  Maui News.


Kauai residents seek state’s help to preserve affordable housing. Residents at a Kauai housing project are asking for the state’s help to keep their apartments affordable. They say the owner of the Courtyards at Waipouli Apartments plans to sell the 82-unit Kapaa complex to a private developer, and they’re asking the state for funding to keep rents at affordable levels. Hawaii News Now.

Kaua‘i County Council passes resolution supporting public access of Coco Palms lands. The Kaua‘i County Council approved in a 4-2 vote on Wednesday a resolution urging the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to prioritize public access for disputed land surrounding the derelict Coco Palms Resort after nearly failing to come to a decision for the second time in two weeks. Garden Island.

Youth football equipment shed burns down in Kauai, causes $200K in damage. Kauai police are investigating after a storage shed containing youth football equipment went up in flames early Wednesday morning in Kapa’a. Hawaii News Now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Senate committee nixes Anderson bid for DHHL, tax relief clears 2 committees, feds seek removal of Leong defense attorney in Honolulu corruption case, more news from all the Hawaiian islands

Capitol TV
Senate panel impairs DHHL leadership bid. Ikaika Anderson failed to win an endorsement from a Senate committee Tuesday to lead the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands over issues that included mistrust. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.  KITV4.

Tax Relief Bill Clears 2 House Committees. The House Education and Economic Development committees unanimously approved a bill Tuesday aimed at providing tax relief to lower- and middle-income families, but it is still unclear if the measure will survive the legislative session. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Legislature Looks To Tweak Internal Rules To Accommodate Ethics Reform. The Senate has committed to livestreaming hearings while the House looks to clarify conflicts of interest for its members. Civil Beat.

HTA puts out third call for U.S. tourism contract. The Hawaii Tourism Authority kicked off its third procurement for a U.S. tourism contract by soliciting bids for a contractor to provide Hawaii tourism destination brand management and marketing services for the U.S. market. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

State bill targets legal short term rentals. The bill does more than just allow counties to change the zoning. It also allows counties to phase out permitted, nonconforming, or otherwise allowed short-term rentals in any zoning classification. KITV4.

Free community college? Legislation seeks to cover tuition for Hawaii residents at 10 campuses. House Bill 78 and its companion, Senate Bill 172, would expand the Hawaii Promise program, a “last dollar” scholarship providing free in-state tuition for University of Hawaii community college students. Tribune-Herald.

Convicted felons can’t serve on Hawaii juries. This lawmaker says it’s time to change that. The proposal could open up jury duty for nearly 5,000 residents with a criminal past. Hawaii News Now.

Midwives Will Soon Need A License To Practice In Hawaii.
Many Are Pushing Back. Regulators want to standardize practices, but some people fear mandatory licensure could hurt rural and Native Hawaiian communities. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio.

State bill hopes to boost money for rural broadband.  Hawaii could receive up to $250 million in order to build out broadband infrastructure in rural areas. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii legislator concerned by distribution of Chinese newspaper. State Rep. Gene Ward questions why free copies of the Chinese Communist Party’s China Daily newspaper are delivered to House members given China’s ongoing provocations, including suspicions that China flew an intelligence-gathering balloon over Kauai in 2022. Star-Advertiser.


Feds Move To Disqualify Attorney In Honolulu Corruption Case. The U.S. Attorney’s office said it’s a conflict of interest for defense attorney Thomas Otake to represent former Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong because Otake’s law partner Loretta Sheehan is a “significant government witness,” according to a motion to the U.S. District court filed on Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

EPA gives Navy more time for Red Hill spill data. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will grant the Navy’s request for more time to turn over information about spills of toxic fire suppression chemicals at its Red Hill underground fuel facility, but only if military officials agree to speed up release of some of the requested material. Star-Advertiser.

‘A lot of paperwork’: 5 months in, flaws apparent in city program to ban repeat offenders from Waikiki.  In September, the city made a big splash in launching “Waikiki Safe and Sound,” a program billed as taking a harder stance on crime in the state’s no. 1 tourism destination. Hawaii News Now.

State lawmaker seeks alternatives to OHA residential development in Kakaʻako. State Sen. Sharon Moriwaki is calling for a “meeting of the minds” over a bill that would reverse a ban on residential development in Kaka’ako Makai, an Oʻahu area in her district. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kapiolani opens new center for youngest heart patients. Kapiolani Medical Center for Women &Children celebrated Valentine’s Day on Tuesday with the opening of its new Pediatric Heart Center. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.  KITV4.

Greg McMackin, former UH football coach, dies at 77.  McMackin spent more than four decades in coaching, including four seasons as Warriors head coach. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.  KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Magnitude 4.8 earthquake strikes off Hawaii Island.
The USGS said the quake struck at 9:27 p.m. and was centered about 7.5 miles southeast of Pahala at a depth of about 20 miles. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaiian Springs Water sued. The lawsuit  alleges Hawaiian Springs has defaulted on a power purchase agreement with Hawaii Brewery Development Co. o buy all the electricity produced by a 300-kilowatt solar energy facility installed by the landlord. Tribune-Herald.

County: Unclear when HOVE well will be repaired. There’s no estimated repair date for the county’s Hawaiian Ocean View Estates well, which has been out of service the past few days. Tribune-Herald.

Small plane crashes at Kona airport; no serious injuries. There were no serious injuries when a small passenger plan with five people aboard crashed off a runway Tuesday morning at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport in Keahole. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.  Hawaii News Now.


Resident survey: Quality of life takes back burner to tourism. Maui County residents are slightly more receptive to the tourism industry as a driver of economic benefits, but still feel that the quality of life is on the back burner, according to a recent survey. Maui News.

Governor’s budget requests include $9 million for Kahului Civic Center
. Funding for housing, health care, education and other projects across the state — including $9 million for the Kahului Civic Center — are among the additional budget requests Gov. Josh Green made to the state Legislature on Monday.  Maui News.

Hawaiian Telcom invested $160M to expand fiber infrastructure in 2022. An additional 55,000 homes and businesses were enabled with fiber-to-the-premise service in 2022, including parts of Wailuku, Maui, Hawaiian Telcom reports. That’s the highest number of locations the company has enabled in a single year. Maui Now.


Kaua‘i Councilmember Luke Evslin to fill empty Hawai‘i House seat. Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green has tapped Kaua‘i County Councilmember Luke Evslin to fill a vacant Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives seat. Kauai Now.

Hanapepe’s Aloha Theatre to be restored as multi-use boutique hotel. A landmark of Hanapepe’s history is getting new life under a $4 million restoration plan that will see Kaua‘i’s biggest little town gain multiple new businesses and a 16-room boutique hotel. Garden Island.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Gas passes $5 a gallon, UH to keep classroom mask mandate, PETA seeks criminal charges against Kauai slaughterhouse, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2022 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Waikiki beach girl ©2022 All Hawaii News

Hawaii Tourism Authority awaits procurement for contract to promote Hawaii. The Hawaii Tourism Authority contract to supply destination management services and promote Hawaii to the U.S. market, the islands’ largest visitor source, is still up in the air at a time when travel spots across the world are competing to tap into rebounding travel demand. Star-Advertiser.

Japanese are eager to visit Hawaii: Lifting of restrictions there removes major barrier to travel. With Japan dropping its emergency COVID-19 restrictions next week, visitors from the country could start to return to Hawaii en masse as soon as next month. Tribune-Herald.

Across Hawaii, gas is over $5 a gallon, enticing some to electric vehicles. Soaring gas prices are leading some motorists to rethink how they get around. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

House sends budget proposal to Senate for further consideration. A state budget proposal is crossing over from the House to the Senate for further consideration. The measure will distribute more than $25 billion. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill to support public high school surf teams advances. A measure to provide funding to support surfing as an interscholastic sport in Hawaii remains alive this legislative session. West Hawaii Today.

Committee passes bill aimed at reducing Hawaii's female prison population. House Bill 2312 proposes to establish the women's corrections implementation commission in the judiciary. The commission would develop a plan so that women who commit non-violent crimes, especially women with underage children, could participate in a rehab program instead of going to jail. KITV4.

University of Hawaiʻi Updates COVID-19 Guidelines, Face Mask Rules. Face mask requirements will be relaxed but will still be mandated for certain indoor activities on campus. Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Popular Deaf School Principal Gets His Job Back. The Hawaii Department of Education acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner when it demoted and reassigned the principal of the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind to a lower-level position at a different school three years ago, an arbitrator hearing a grievance in the case concluded late last month. Civil Beat.


Bill to extend time for condominium owners to comply with fire safety codes passes. The Honolulu City Council voted to pass a measure that gives condominium owners more time to comply with a law that requires them to install fire sprinklers or pass a safety evaluation. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu City Council eyes HART budget amid proposal to stop short of Ala Moana. The Honolulu City Council gave initial approval Wednesday for next year’s budget for the agency overseeing the rail transit project. Hawaii Public Radio.

Federal attorneys file additional counts against former corporation counsel Donna Leong. The first superseding indictment was filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon, in the case against Leong, former city managing director Roy Amemiya, and former Honolulu Police Commission chair Max Sword. In the documents filed, five counts were added on, specifically against Leong, accusing her of making false statements to the FBI. KITV4.

U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele calls for return of Makua Valley land.
U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele has introduced legislation requiring the cleanup, restoration and return of 782 leased acres of Oahu’s Makua Military Reservation used for live-fire training from 1942 to 2004 to the state of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

U.S. House approves heritage designation for Kaena Point.
Kaena Point, the remote westernmost tip of Oahu, could become Hawaii’s first National Heritage Area under a bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Hawaii Island

Closures Planned for Helicopter Operations at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park. The reason for the closures is to provide public safety during the removal of invasive, non-native vegetation using a helicopter. Big Island Now.

Underground cable work on Kalanianaole Avenue. The Hawaii Department of Transportation said Thursday there will be work install underground cable between Monday and April 22 on Kalanianaole Avenue in Keaukaha. Tribune-Herald.

Kona restaurant issued yellow placard. Kai Eats and Drinks was inspected after a complaint was made to the Food Safety Branch by a customer who became ill after consuming a salad. West Hawaii Today.


Maui Condo Owners Want To Tax Themselves To Save Their Homes From Rising Seas. Are Community Facilities Districts a win-win? Property owners pay to protect their condos, and the public gets to enjoy improved beaches and infrastructure. Civil Beat.

Councilmember King to host community town hall on affordable housing, March 22. Councilmember Kelly Takaya King hosts an in-person town hall on March 22 at 6 p.m. at the Malcolm Center, 1305 N. Holopono St., to discuss affordable housing and address residents’ questions on affordable housing. Maui Now.


Native Hawaiian homestead nonprofit buys Kauai affordable rental property. A Native Hawaiian homestead nonprofit recently purchased an affordable rental property on Kauai, advancing a first-of-its-kind project. The nonprofit’s leaders say the initiative is an effort to keep more rentals at affordable rates, particularly during the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

PETA seeks criminal charges against Wailua slaughterhouse. International animal-welfare organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the Kaua‘i county prosecutor to investigate a local slaughterhouse. Garden Island.

Feds: Paco’s Tacos withheld over $62K in overtime, tips. Federal investigators have recovered nearly $63,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 42 employees of Paco’s Tacos Cantina, a restaurant with four locations on Kaua‘i and one on O‘ahu. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Former Honolulu top officials indicted in alleged corruption conspiracy and surrender to FBI, possible repercussions in gubernatorial race, nurses' union head says avoid hospitals, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii News Now
An FBI agent handcuffs former Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong on Wednesday, Jan. 12 PC: Hawaii News Now

3 former Honolulu city executives charged with conspiracy as part of sprawling Kealoha corruption probe. In a stunning scene Wednesday morning, three former high-ranking city officials -- former city Managing Director Roy Amemiya, former Corporation Counsel Donna Leong and former Honolulu Police Commission Chairman Max Sword--surrendered to the FBI as part of the ongoing massive public corruption probe that resulted in the conviction of ex-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine. Hawaii News Now. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. KHON2. KITV4.

Federal indictments may hurt Kirk Caldwell’s run for governor. The federal indictments of two of former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s top lieutenants are likely to further cripple Caldwell’s gubernatorial hopes this year, but likely will have less effect on the lieutenant governor’s race. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

SHOPO: Allegations against former Honolulu city officials are 'sickening'. Robert Cavaco, president of the State of Hawai'i Organization of Police Officers,  said the money the three allegedly embezzled could have been used to hire more officers for the already short-staffed Honolulu Police Department. KITV4.

Voter registration database questioned. Investigating errors and possible fraud in the state’s voter registration database is the responsibility of the county elections clerks and not the state, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago told the state Elections Commission on Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

It’s Tough To Figure Out Just How Hard The Pandemic Has Hit The Hawaii Economy. Personal income in Hawaii actually increased overall during the pandemic, but experts say people are going to be worse off this year as federal bailout money dries up. Civil Beat.

University of Hawaii grad students continue fight for unionization. Student leaders working to unionize graduate assistants at the University of Hawaii said they plan to appeal a First Circuit Court rejection of their lawsuit seeking the right to engage in collective bargaining with the university. Star-Advertiser.

Some Hawaii public schools have not shared COVID-19 case counts for months. Forty-two Hawaii public schools as of Tuesday had not posted their COVID-19 case counts to the state Department of Education’s public dashboard since before winter break, even though they are required by state law to do so weekly. Star-Advertiser.

Relief in sight as hospitals grapple with staffing shortage. An estimated 250 to 260 contracted health care workers from the mainland are expected to arrive in Hawaii this weekend to help care for COVID-19 patients, according to the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, a nonprofit trade association for hospitals. Star-Advertiser.

Head of nurses union: Severe staffing shortage at hospitals is impacting patient care. "I would tell the public if at all possible stay away from hospitals right now," said Daniel Ross, the head of the Hawaii’s Nurses Association. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii records 5 new coronavirus-related deaths, 3,512 additional infections. The new confirmed and probable infection count by island includes 2,612 new cases on Oahu, 290 on Hawaii Island, 373 on Maui, 158 on Kauai, 19 on Molokai, eight on Lanai and 52 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Oahu company to pay $1.5M to security guards after denying overtime wages. An Oahu company that provides security guards to public and private facilities will have to pay over $1.5 million in back wages after a federal investigation determined it illegally denied workers overtime pay. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Police Chief Search Expected To Take At Least 6 More Months
. PSI Services LLC, the consulting firm hired to assist in the search, said it plans to present the police commission with up to four finalists in June. Civil Beat.

Kapilina residents file class action TRO to not pay rent, utilities during the water contamination crisis. Kapilina Beach Homes residents affected by the Navy’s ongoing contamination crisis filed a class action complaint, on Jan. 6, demanding a jury trial to stop their landlords from charging rent and utilities. KHON2. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Costco buys Ewa site for distribution center. Costco has made a huge real estate investment on Oahu, buying a more-or-less finished 44-acre industrial park property on the Ewa plain within the growing master-planned Ho‘opili community. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

8 projects ID’d for Puna: List includes waterlines, wells aimed at helping region recover from 2018 eruption. The few remaining homes in Kapoho might get their water restored after all. Tribune-Herald.

No Pohoiki Boat Ramp until 2024 at the earliest. The Pohoiki Boat Ramp is now not expected to reopen until late 2024. Tribune-Herald.

Funds for Waikōloa Library Secured, But Planned Location Falls Through.
The reality of a library in Waikōloa Village moved one step closer with the release of state funding, however, the project also hit a setback in that same stride. Big Island Now.

Parker Ranch donates Pukalani Stables to Paniolo Preservation Society. The historic Pukalani Stables in Waimea will be donated to the Paniolo Preservation Society, Parker Ranch announced recently. West Hawaii Today.


Cruise ship arrives at Kahului Harbor, first with passengers to disembark in 22 months. The Grand Princess cruise ship arrived at Kahului Harbor on Maui today with an estimated 1,188 passengers aboard and 900-plus crew members. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

‘A lot of interest’ in proposed 25-mile West Maui bike, foot trail
. Wheels are turning on plans to create a 25-mile multi-use biking and walking trail that will connect Ukumehame to Līpoa Point in West Maui. Maui Now.

New streamlined registration process for riding Da Bee shuttles on Maui. The County of Maui Department of Management has a new streamlined registration process for riding the Da Bee shuttle in Wailuku. Maui Now.


County Council discusses visitor parking fees at certain Kaua‘i beach parks. At its meeting Wednesday, the council passed a resolution allowing the county Department of Parks and Recreation to establish visitor parking fees at three county-owned beach parks, and approved at first reading a bill that would create a fee schedule. Garden Island.

8 days after landslide cut off west Kauai community, crews still racing to remove debris. Menehune Road remains below piles of rocks and crews are working to stabilize the slope. Hawaii News Now.

Kaua‘i home prices highest in state. Kaua‘i’s annual median single-family home price increased by over 35% in 2021 from the year prior to hit $1.1 million, the highest in the state, according to data from Hawai‘i independent real-estate firm Locations. Garden Island.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Investigation ongoing after two police officers killed, landlord stabbed, 7 homes burned down near Waikiki, disgruntled tenant missing; plus more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Downed police officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama PC: Honolulu Police Department.
First responders still on scene at Diamond Head after man fatally shoots 2 HPD officers before raging fire destroys 7 homes. First responders remain at the scene of Diamond Head on Monday morning, a day after a “tragic unfolding of events” that started with a stabbing and ended with the shooting deaths of two Honolulu police officers and a raging fire that destroyed seven homes. Hawaii News Now.

Body camera footage shows 2019 encounter between suspect, officer killed in line of duty. At least one of the Honolulu police officers who was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday had previously been dispatched to the suspect’s home in response to emergency calls, according to video obtained by Hawaii News Now. Hawaii News Now.

2 officers killed, homes destroyed in standoff. The Honolulu Police Department on Sunday mourned the loss of two police officers who were shot and killed while responding to an apparent tenant-landlord dispute that blew up into a multihome fire near Diamond Head and left three others missing, including the shooter, who was presumed dead. The Honolulu Police Department on Sunday mourned the loss of two police officers who were shot and killed while responding to an apparent tenant-landlord dispute that blew up into a multihome fire near Diamond Head and left three others missing, including the shooter, who was presumed dead. Star-Advertiser.

Man facing eviction fatally shoots 2 Honolulu police officers before blaze destroys 7 homes in Diamond Head neighborhood. In a shocking series of events Sunday, a 69-year-old man facing eviction is accused of fatally shooting two Honolulu police officers who were responding to the scene of a stabbing and then apparently setting a raging fire that destroyed seven homes in Diamond Head. Hawaii News Now.

Man Facing Eviction Allegedly Killed 2 HPD Officers, Stabbed Landlord. The shooting suspect is believed to have also started a fire in the neighborhood that destroyed at least seven houses. Civil Beat.

7 Homes Burn After Shooter Kills 2 Honolulu Officers. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard says it may take several days to process the Diamond Head area crime scene where two Honolulu police officers were shot and killed Sunday morning. Hawaii Public Radio.

Homes burn after shooter kills 2 Honolulu officers. A man shot and killed two police officers Sunday as they responded to a home in a leafy neighborhood beneath the rim of a famed volcanic crater near Waikiki Beach, authorities said. Associated Press.

HPD gives details on "senseless, selfish act". Suspect Jerry Hanel is accused of killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, then setting a fire. KITV4.

Mayor on officers that were shot and killed: They ‘put on their uniforms this morning and didn’t get home’. Police Chief Susan Ballard confirmed Jerry Hanel to be the suspect in the shooting that killed two officers on Sunday, Jan. 19. Chief Ballard said that officers responded to the scene after a report of a stabbing. KHON2.

Suspect suffered from mental health problems. The Honolulu Police Department believes the man suspected of shooting and killing two patrol officers, stabbing his landlady and destroying by fire seven homes in an exclusive Diamond Head neighborhood Sunday perished in the Hibiscus Drive house where he lived. Star-Advertiser.

Shooting suspect had history of mental instability but not extreme violence. The 69-year-old suspect in the Diamond Head shooting Sunday that left two Honolulu police officers dead had a history of mental instability and disagreements with neighbors, his attorney told Hawaii News Now. Hawaii News Now.

Neighbors, witnesses give more insight on suspect Jerry Hanel. Early Sunday morning, many woke up to panic and chaos as first responders rushed to Hibiscus Drive where two officers were shot and homes burned. KHON2.

2 slain Honolulu police officers were parents. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard identified the two Honolulu police officers as Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama. Star-Advertiser.


Ige pledged to end homelessness in Hawaii by 2020. What happened? "In hindsight maybe it was too aggressive, too aspirational.” Hawaii News Now.

Legislature launches environmental caucus. To encourage legislative action on pressing environmental issues, the state Legislature has formed an Environmental Legislative Caucus. Garden Island.

State: Tax collections up. Total state tax collections were up almost 5% in Fiscal Year 2019, which ended June 30. Tribune-Herald.

Attorney general seeks funds to fight corruption. State Attorney General Clare Connors is requesting an extra $1 million a year for pay increases to be distributed among the 200 lawyers that work in her office, and is seeking 10 additional staffers for a new unit designed to pursue complex cases including public corruption and theft from state programs. Star-Advertiser.


Solar generation up 21% in 2019, Hawaiian Electric says. Hawaiian Electric announced Friday that it experienced a 21% jump in solar generation capacity last year, its largest-ever annual increase for the five isles it has served since 2005. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric: Solar Capacity Surged in 2019. The completion of large grid-scale projects and thousands of residential solar systems boosted the largest-ever annual increase in solar capacity on Hawaiian Electric’s five island systems, the company announced Friday. Maui Now.


Using a new law, Honolulu goes after scofflaws and drafts rules for 1,700 new B&Bs. Over the next year, Kathy Sokugawa, acting director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting, faces the mammoth task of rooting out illegal vacation rentals that have proliferated on Oahu, in defiance of a three-decades-old ban. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu’s top civil attorney Donna Leong is in limbo. Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a year ago that City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong was granted paid administrative leave from her post after receiving a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice. Star-Advertiser.

Law enforcement hopes capture of crime ring players will help bring crime under control. City and federal law enforcement officers are pursuing two crime rings that they suspect are responsible for a portion of the recent wave of property and violent crimes that has put Oahu on edge. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office has noted that about a dozen high-profile violent crime cases referred to their office since 2015 have been committed by current and former HOPE probationers. In six of these, police shot the suspect, and in three of the cases killed him. HOPE stands for Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation With Enforcement. Launched by 1st Circuit Court Judge Steven Alm in 2004, the high-intensity supervision program assigns sanctions — typically several days in jail — every time a participant violates probation terms like using drugs or missing appointments with a probation officer. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Bus system ‘meltdown’ leaves schoolchildren, working poor stranded. After a week of even fewer buses than usual, Mayor Harry Kim on Friday called an emergency meeting and together, top officials came up with an interim plan that will draw on buses and vans from the public and private sector, in addition to those of current bus contractors Roberts Hawaii and Polynesian Adventure Tours Inc. West Hawaii Today.

Judge hands down maximum sentence to Waiki accomplice Malia Lajala. A fifth accomplice was sentenced Friday to six years in jail for her role in assisting Justin Waiki after the July 2018 murder of Hawaii County Police Officer Bronson Kaliloa. West Hawaii Today.

Aloha, Southwest! Airline opens interisland service to Hilo. More than 100 passengers were greeted with cheers and songs Sunday morning after disembarking Southwest Airlines’ first flight from Honolulu to Hilo. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor to deliver State of County Feb. 11. Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino will be delivering his 2020 State of the County address on Feb. 11 at the newly opened South Maui Community Park Gymnasium. Maui News.

Maui police tow two cars under new DUI law. DUI arrestees will have their car towed rather than stay in place. KITV4.

EVohana charger transfer conditionally OK’d by PUC. The state Public Utilities Commission has approved Hawaiian Electric’s plan to own and potentially operate four EVohana sites on Maui that uses pricing to entice electric vehicle drivers to plug in during the day when solar power is plentiful. Maui News.

Saving Materials and More in Maui County. Since its launch in 2018, Hawai’i Materials Recycling says it has saved Maui County taxpayers millions of dollars. Maui Now.


National CAP commander visits Kauai. A briefing on the communications capabilities of the Kauai Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Operating Center concluded the vist of Civil Air Patrol National Commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith and his entourage, Thursday at the EOC. Garden Island.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Honolulu Corporation Counsel Leong targeted in federal corruption probe, Legislature to probe Ige Cabinet appointees, Hawaii County to consider GET increase, fishing reopens off Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Corruption scandal spills over into city hall as top attorney gets federal target letter. The U.S. Department of Justice has notified Honolulu’s top civil attorney that she’s a target in the federal corruption investigation that has already zeroed in on the city’s highest-ranking law enforcement officials. Hawaii News Now.

City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong, the city’s top civil attorney, went on paid leave effective today after receiving a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this month, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Police Corruption Probe Snags City’s Top Lawyer. Honolulu Corporation Counsel Donna Leong is the latest top city official to be named a target in the ongoing Justice Department investigation. Civil Beat.

City's top attorney on paid leave after getting target letter. Two years ago, Leong played a role in the $250,000 payment to Chief Louis Kealoha that led to his retirement. KITV.

City's top attorney receives target letter from feds. KHON2.

Honolulu police Sgt. Daniel Sellers was not in on the alleged mailbox theft conspiracy and is not expected to testify in the upcoming federal criminal trial against retired Police Chief Louis Kealoha, Kealoha’s former deputy prosecutor wife and three other former members of the Honolulu Police Department’s elite Criminal Intelligence Unit, according to details contained in Sellers’ plea agreement. Star-Advertiser.


Senators: Some Cabinet Nominees Won’t Make It. Some Hawaii senators say they aren’t inclined to confirm the governor’s choices for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Department of Budget and Finance and the Department of Public Safety. Civil Beat.

The former chief of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Monday that there’s no political will to deal with the consequences of sea-level rise brought about by climate change. Tribune-Herald.

Federal workers are turning to loans and food banks — and looking for new jobs. For some federal workers, growing uncertainty about the government shutdown has them contemplating a career change. Hawaii News Now.

Coast Guard Members Continue Public Safety Missions, About to Miss Paycheck. On Tuesday, Members of the U.S. Coast Guard will miss their first paycheck since the partial federal shutdown began in December. Hawaii Public Radio.

Student loan debt in Hawaii has doubled since 2008 but is increasing at a slower rate than the national average, according to a report from Experian Consumer Service. Star-Advertiser.


The eight certified members of the Honolulu City Council voted unanimously to make Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi their interim chairwoman as a challenge to Trevor Ozawa’s 22-vote election day victory over Tommy Waters remains unresolved. Star-Advertiser.

Rail delays to cost $160m more. The Honolulu rail authority has tentatively agreed to pay contractor Ansaldo Honolulu JV $160 million as compensation for years of construction delays on the 20-mile rail line. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Will Pay Train Maker $160 Million To Cover Rail Delays. Rail officials said the settlement with Ansaldo covers a delay of more than 2,000 days. Civil Beat.

HART announces tentative settlement with contractor over costly delays. Ansaldo Honolulu had a $574 million contract to build the electrical system and facilities and maintenance buildings. Hawaii News Now.

Company owning Kakaako roads fined by state for failing to meet road safety standards. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Armed with an opinion from the state attorney general, Mayor Harry Kim is asking the County Council to consider raising the general excise tax. West Hawaii Today.

Bonnie Irwin, the current provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University Monterey Bay, was recommended for approval by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents as the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s next chancellor, it was announced Monday. Tribune-Herald.

Bonnie Irwin will take over as UH-Hilo chancellor on July 1, 2019, if the UH Board of Regents approves the recommendation at its January 31 meeting. Big Island Video News.

Officials seek innovative ways like community court as homeless solution. It’s one thing to have a site that can house and service dozens or even hundreds of homeless in West Hawaii. But it’s quite another to entice some of Kona’s most troubled residents to participate in the program. West Hawaii Today.

Eruption a factor in decrease of Big Isle home sales in 2018. Tribune-Herald.


The state Board of Land and Natural Resources voted Friday to reopen Bottomfish Restricted Areas off Hana and the Penguin Banks off Molokai/Lanai based on new data on bottom fish stocks in those areas. Maui News.

After 19 years of teaching students how to build cottages for kupuna and classrooms for their school, Rick Rutiz is stepping down as executive director of Ma Ka Hana Ka Ike.  Maui News.

HI SOUP, a community-project funding organization, is partnering with the Malamalama Maui Project to fund one of three community agriculture projects on Maui. The event will be held at Heritage Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. Maui Now.


State park officials have set March 30 as the projected completion date for the total reconstruction of public facilities at Haena State Park. Garden Island.

The Hawaii Department of Transportation said Monday that Kaumualii Highway by the Hanapepe Bridge will be closed for one lane of alternating traffic from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday in preparation for bridge construction work. Garden Island.

Dog kills nene, triggers altercation. Garden Island.